Legislature(1993 - 1994)

1994-02-04 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

1994-02-04                     House Journal                      Page 2264
HB 446                                                                       
HOUSE BILL NO. 446 by the House Rules Committee by request of                  
the Governor, entitled:                                                        
"An Act relating to community agreements for environmental                    
conservation purposes; and providing for an effective date."                   
was read the first time and referred to the Community & Regional               
Affairs and Resources Committees.                                              
The following fiscal note applies:                                             
Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Environmental Conservation, 2/4/94                  

1994-02-04                     House Journal                      Page 2265
HB 446                                                                       
The Governor's transmittal letter, dated February 4, 1994, appears             
"Dear Speaker Barnes:                                                          
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am     
transmitting a bill relating to community agreements for environmental         
conservation purposes.  The bill would provide the Department of               
Environmental Conservation with specific authority to enter into               
agreements with local governing bodies, Native regional corporations,          
Native village councils, other similar organizations, and, as appropriate,     
federal agencies, to jointly assess and prioritize local environmental         
needs and funding.                                                             
The bill amends the powers of the Department of Environmental                  
Conservation found in AS46.03.020 to expressly authorize the                   
department to enter into community agreements to best allocate                 
environmental resources.  These community agreements have three                
basic components.  First, the community agreement would provide for            
the joint assessment of environmental needs within a local community           
or region and the establishment of indicators to track progress in             
meeting those needs.  Second, the parties to the agreement would               
jointly assess and prioritize those needs by comparative risk to human         
health and the environment.   Third, the parties would work                    
cooperatively to resolve those needs through delegation and                    
cooperative management, to the extent allowable under the law, using           
local, state, and federal authorities and funding available to meet those      
identified environmental needs.  The bill would allow a federal agency,        
such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to join as a party          
to the community agreement.  Federal government participation would            
be voluntary and would not prevent the community agreement process             
from going forward.  However, recent policy announcements by the               
EPA suggest that it may be interested in joining with the state and            
local communities in fashioning cost-effective cooperative solutions to        
the local environmental problems envisioned by these agreements.               
Alaska communities face "unfunded mandates" from the federal                   
government that often exceed a community's financial capabilities.             
Prioritization is necessary.  The information exchange and other               
activities contemplated by the bill would be structured in law and             

1994-02-04                     House Journal                      Page 2266
HB 446                                                                       
regulations, to meet legal requirements that may not presently be met.         
Given the serious unmet environmental needs of the villages, local             
communities, and rural areas throughout our state, I urge prompt               
passage of this bill.                                                          
										Walter J. Hickel